Room for one more
Honda seems to have the crossover market pretty well covered with the compact CR-V and the eight-seat Pilot, yet the company sees room for one more. The Honda Accord Crosstour looks to slot in between the two in terms of functionality, yet will stand at the top from a pricing perspective. By packaging, pricing, and marketing this vehicle on the high-end of the five-passenger crossover segment, Honda is targeting both empty nesters and young couples moving from either a smaller or larger vehicle into this growing segment. Competitors for the Crosstour include the Ford Edge, Nissan Murano, and Toyota Venza.
It sure doesn’t look like an Accord
The Crosstour’s bulging rear end and sloped roof aren’t exactly new, but the look is still quite shocking. Vehicles like the BMW X6, the BMW 5-Series GT, and the Acura ZDX (which shares no parts with the Crosstour) have all paved the way for Honda’s four-door crossover coupe. That hasn’t stopped people from calling the Crosstour’s style into question. When Honda first dropped pictures of the Accord Crosstour on Facebook in September, people decried the design. Some said it recalled the AMC Eagle SX/4. Others drew comparisons to the Pontiac Aztek.
In person, the Crosstour’s caricature look isn’t nearly as exaggerated. The grille looks less jarring and the rear end isn’t as rotund. The sloped roof even looks sporty. There are still unflattering angles, and we can hardly imagine the body style gaining major traction with other automakers. On the road, these cars won’t be drawing second looks. Well, probably not positive ones.
Putting the “Accord” in “Accord Crosstour”
From the inside, the Crosstour feels very similar to an Accord, with controls in the same locations and similar surface textures, quality, and colors. It’s familiar and comfortable, although the navigation display is growing old, and the knobs and buttons are a bit of a cluttered mess. To position the Accord Crosstour as a premium mainstream vehicle, Honda is offering few trim levels and options, but a comprehensive list of standard equipment. That includes dual-zone climate control, power front seats, and an auxiliary audio input. Uplevel optional equipment includes a USB input, satellite radio, heated seats, and a navigation system. However, for the high-end image Honda is looking to create, options like keyless ignition, a power liftgate, and a rear seat entertainment system are missing.
Based on the Crosstour’s profile, we were expecting the rear seat to be squeezed for space. Instead, we were pleasantly surprised that it’s not much different than in a sedan, with headroom just large enough to accommodate six-footers, and car-like legroom that’s not overly generous, but is certainly adequate.
The rear cargo area features a removable rigid two-piece cover that keeps valuables out of sight. There’s also a compartment beneath the floor that features a removable tub perfect for stashing tools, tie downs, an ice scraper, or wet and dirty objects. The entire cargo compartment is nicely finished in rich carpeting. If you want to protect that carpet, just flip the floor panels over to reveal plastic surfaces. With the back seats up, you can store 25.7 cubic feet of storage in the rear. That number is notably smaller than the volumes afforded in Honda’s own CR-V and Pilot, or the Toyota Venza. Still, flipping the seats down leaves a very usable 51.3 cubic feet.
Familiar Honda hardware
Honda says the Crosstour shares about 60 percent of its parts with the Accord sedan, including the basic chassis, instrument panel, and powertrain. But while the Accord sedan offers four- and six-cylinder engines, the Crosstour comes in only one flavor, using the 271-hp V-6, which is paired to a five-speed automatic transmission. Buyers can choose between front- or all-wheel drive. Fuel economy is rated at 18/27 mpg for the two-wheel-drive Crosstour, and 17/25 for the all-wheel-drive model.
Like the sedan, the Crosstour features a control-arm front suspension and multilink rear setup. The crossover grows in length and width by about two inches while the wheelbase is nearly identical. Height for the Crosstour is more than seven inches taller than the sedan, helped by both a taller roof and ground clearance that is raised 0.3 inches.
Familiar Accord driving
Based on the mechanical similarities, it’s not surprising that the Crosstour feels like driving an Accord sedan. The view and feel from the driver’s seat is decidedly carlike, as opposed to the taller perches in the Ford, Nissan and Toyota competitors. Despite a 300-pound weight addition to the Accord chassis, the Crosstour accelerates with ease. The engine delivers a powerful surge as valve timing and lift change at high rpms while the transmission shifts smoothly. The ride feels just slightly softer than that of the sedan, but handling is still respectable. For the added weight and height, the Crosstour corners commendably, especially when compared to the Venza. Steering in the Honda, though, is quite lifeless.
A polarizing price and style
Honda starts pricing for the front-wheel-drive Crosstour at $30,380 and $34,730 for all-wheel drive. While the car packs a lot of content, that seems a bit pricey to us, especially considering you can get into a V-6 Murano and Edge for several thousand dollars less. Using the Accord name to cash in on familiarity may help Honda move a few Crosstours, but the Japanese automaker will also have to contend with the polarizing styling that may make it a nonstarter for some buyers.